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Natural Pioneers Head West

The 36th-annual Natural Products Expo West is expected to be the biggest showcase of natural, organic and healthy products yet.


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Like American pioneers before them, the natural products industry will head West this month to discover the new frontier—products and services—of the in-demand natural products category at the Natural Products Expo West trade show. The 36th annual event will take place March 11-13 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif.   

More than 3,000 exhibitors will showcase natural, organic and healthy products in a variety of categories to 70,000 attendees. Additionally, 600 entrepreneurial exhibitors, including a full 400 brands, will be featured at the Anaheim Hilton. 

Educational programming will kick off March 9 and sessions will focus on Making the Impossible Possible, Trust, Vitality, Fixing Food, The Changing Distribution Landscape, Stewardship, Better Business, Cultivating Organic and The Changing Supplements Market.

The Natural Products Expo mobile app has updated features like the ActivLocator, a personal indoor GPS to help attendees quickly find their way, discover what is around them and make the most of their time on the show floor. Attendees can also access schedule-planning tools, find new exhibits and search digital product showcases on the app. Here is a preview of what some exhibitors will showcase at the show:  

Stonewall Kitchen 

Booth 169

Stonewall Kitchen has become known for its specialty foods including jams, jellies, sauces, condiments, mustards and baking mixes. The York, Maine-based company is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016. Stonewall Kitchen’s goal at Expo West is to introduce the Stonewall Kitchen brand to the natural market, says Janine Somers, director of marketing. 

“With 95 percent of our specialty food products having clean labels, we have an opportunity to introduce the brand to new retailers that may be unaware that the majority of our products don’t contain artificial colors, flavors or any chemical preservatives,” Somers says. 

The company will feature products it has carried for years, as well as its new product line, Organic Jams. The Organic Jams are sourced with organic ingredients and come in two savory and two sweet flavor profiles: Sweet Chili, Maple Apple Onion, Blueberry Cherry and Strawberry Vanilla.

Eden Foods 

Booth 2542

Eden Foods, the 48-year old independent food manufacturer based in Clinton, Mich., has exhibited at Expo West for 35 years. The company’s long-term relationship with Expo West offers Eden Foods the opportunity “to cultivate sound relationships with other organizations and individuals who are like-minded and involved in like-pursuits,” says Demian Potter, vice president sales.

Eden will feature two vegetarian sushi demonstrations using Eden sea vegetables, soy sauce, wasabi, pickled ginger and more from its Specialty Imports food line. A sushi chef will create sushi rolls for visitors from noon-2 p.m. on March 11-12. Whole grain and pasta salads will also be served daily, made with Eden buckwheat, millet, quinoa, whole grain pasta and beans.

The company will spotlight its two new freeze-dried Eden Instant Miso Soups. Its ceremonial grade Matcha powdered green tea, Rice & Beans, traditional Miso, fruit butters, apple sauce and unrefined vegetable oils will also be on display at Expo West. 

NOW Foods 

Booth 2767

NOW has been providing customers with a comprehensive approach to wellness for 46 years. The Bloomingdale, Ill.-based company offers more than 1,400 natural dietary supplements, foods, sports nutrition and personal care products. At Expo West, several of the company’s food brands will be prominently featured. 

“At Expo West, our goal is to introduce these high-quality products and surprise and delight retailers,” says Dave Rosenberg, food category manager. “Our mission is to provide great tasting, affordable, high-quality foods to help people live healthier lives. We’ll be looking for partnerships with retailers who share this passion.” 

NOW will highlight its Living Now, NOW Real Food and Ellyndale Foods product lines. The Living Now Gluten-Free, Organic Quinoa Pastas are made with three ingredients—rice, quinoa and amaranth—and varieties include penne, macaroni and spaghetti. The company will also sample its Slender Sticks, which are sugar-free drink sticks sweetened with BetterStevia. From its Ellyndale Foods line, NOW will feature its gourmet oils and Coconut Infusions. 

CROPP Cooperative 

Booth 2831 

CROPP Cooperative offers organic dairy through its Organic Valley brand, which includes milk, cream, butter, eggs and cheese. Through the Organic Prairie brand, the La Farge, Wis.-based company offers a line of fresh, frozen and ready-to-eat USDA organic meat products.  

“Driving innovation is core to the company’s mission with recent successes such as a line of ready to drink milk protein beverages called Organic Fuel and Organic Balance, and a line of 100 percent grass-fed dairy products under the Grassmilk trademark including milk, yogurt and cheese,” says Lewis Goldstein, vice president of brand marketing. “Our 1,800 family farmer owners are proud to support a mission of growing the organic market through a stable pay price enabling future generations to continue the tradition.” 

CROPP Cooperative will showcase several products including the new Mighty Bar and Mighty Jerky line of 100 percent grass-fed organic meat snacks; Good to Go, organic white and chocolate milk; and new flavors of its USDA organic certified Kingdom cheese.

PB Crave 

Booth 3796

 PB Crave Peanut Butter, based in Rosemount, Minn., uses the best quality ingredients from around the world to deliver four flavors of all-natural peanut butter, say company officials. At Expo West, the company hopes to gain distribution and retail opportunities for its products, says Austin Riess, general manager. 

“We can meet the demand for any organization,” Riess says. “PB Crave offers four mouthwatering, natural peanut butter blends—each mixing many of your favorite flavors with premium peanut butter—for a new twist on an old classic.” 

The flavors include: Razzle Dazzle, a blend of red raspberry, wild honey, cool white chocolate and rich darkness; Cookie Nookie, a mix of chocolate chips, cookie dough flavor, wild honey and peanut butter; Choco Choco, a blend of semi-sweet and rich dark chocolate with peanut butter; and CoCo Bananas, a mix of bananas, cocoa and wild honey. 

​Natracare 

Booth 3821

Natracare will highlight its entire product range that consists of organic and natural disposable feminine hygiene solutions including natural cotton tampons, pads, liners and wipes. Natracare’s COSMOS certified Organic Cleansing Makeup Removal Wipes will take center stage at the company’s booth. 

“Attending this show allows us to further strengthen the Natracare brand and endorses our credibility and longevity in the natural and organic industry,” says Theresa White, senior executive officer for the Greeley, Colo.-based company. “It allows us to offer unprecedented face time with both new and established customers, sharing the philosophy and passion for our products to cultivate relationships and buying decisions. 

“We invite any buyers that have been considering expanding their organic and natural sets to come and learn more about the world’s leading brand of organic and natural feminine hygiene,” White adds.  

Enjoy Life Foods 

Booth 3867

Enjoy Life Foods takes the rapidly growing free from category seriously, and at Expo West, the Chicago-based company will unveil new products that fit the free from profile. 

“New to Enjoy Life’s portfolio are a delicious bite-sized snack that packs six grams of plant-based protein per serving,” says Kasey Moss, senior brand manager. “Perfect for ingredient-conscious consumers, this exciting new line is available in four inventive flavor combinations and will be sold in a larger re-sealable bag, as well as single serve pouches.”

The company will also showcase it Soft-Baked Minis and Crunchy Cookie Buttons. The products join Enjoy Life’s Crunchy Cookie and Soft Baked Cookie lines, offering a smaller, bite-sized form for convenient snacking. In addition, samples of its popular line of recently launched baking mixes will be available to showgoers.

popchips 

Booth 4480

“The Natural Products Expo West is one of the largest venues possible for us to showcase our brand’s continuing innovations in popped snacks,” says Marc Seguin, chief marketing officer for Playa Vista, Calif.-based popchips. “Last year, we announced our Crazy Hot and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Twist flavors, and this year we are introducing an entirely new product line.”

After years of experimentation, the company has found the perfect combination of heat and pressure to create its new line of popchips called Ridges, Seguin says. The crunchy-ridged chips come in four flavors: Salted, Tangy BBQ, Cheddar & Sour Cream and Chili Cheese. 

Popchips original line of potato chips include Crazy Hot, Sea Salt, Barbeque, Sour Cream & Onion, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Salt & Pepper, Sweet Potato, Cinnamon Twist Sweet Potato and Boardwalk Kettle Corn. 

Wild Garden 

Booth 4545

Owned by Ziyad Brothers Importing, the Cicero, Ill.-based Wild Garden brand—known for its jarred hummus dips, Hummus to Go and Snack Box to Go items—is experiencing an evolution. 

“Our brand is the midst of a major change as we are evolving from a hummus and snacks brand to offering authentic Mediterranean Foods that are not only flavorful, but fast; keeping consumers’ busy lifestyles in mind,” says Mark Smith, vice president of sales. 

Wild Garden will launch six items that make Mediterranean foods more accessible to consumers. “The healthy and flavorful foods of the Mediterranean diet inspired us to create regionally classic Heat and Serve Pilafs that are simple and take the time and labor out of preparation,” Smith says. “Our Quick Marinades expertly blend spices like cardamom, cumin and herbs.” 

Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP

Booth 4659 

Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP is a better-for-you snack with simple ingredients, calorie transparency and “totally fantastical” flavors that are all certified gluten-free and Non-GMO Project Verified, says Angie Bastian, founder of the Mankato, Minn.-based company.

“Snacking is always on trend with the BOOM team, and setting a new “savory” standard in 2016 is no different,” Bastian says. “With the spotlight shining on snacks that bring some substance to sweetness, Angie’s is debuting a brand new flavor—Sweet Barbeque Popcorn— at Expo West.” 

The Sweet Barbeque Popcorn offers a combination of complex BBQ richness and a blend of spices like smoked paprika, as well as a delicate balance of cane and maple sugar.

Good Food Made Simple 

Booth 5343

Good Food Made Simple will bring an arsenal of new products to Expo West. The Wellesley, Mass.-based company will announce changes and debut two products lines. 

“Good Food Made Simple has been committed to clean and simple ingredients from the start,” says Julia Khodabandeh, director of marketing. “This year at Expo West, we’re excited to announce some very big changes to our lineup, including a move to ‘made with organic’ or USDA Organic on most of our portfolio and the launch of our new Entrée Bowls.”

The Entrée Bowls offer a quick option for lunch or dinner and come in three varieties: Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, Turkey Meatball Fettucine and Chicken Pad Thai. The company will also introduce its waffles in two flavors—Buttermilk and Blueberry. 

Grecian Delight 

Booth 5472

Visitors to Grecian Delight’s booth will be treated to gyro sandwiches and phyllo swirls made by the company’s corporate chef. The samples will support the launch of three new product lines: Opaa! premium gyro slices and gyro kits; Maria’s Greek Delights, a line of authentic phyllo swirls; and One Republic Flatbreads, a line of natural flatbreads.

Mediterranean Foods continues to be a hot category, as it is one of the fastest growing segments within ethnic foods and is extremely popular with the Millennial consumer,” says John Leonardo, head of retail marketing for the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based company. “We have recently developed several new products that play into this important consumer groups palate but have also developed products that work for the natural channel consumer as well.”

Opaa! gyro slices are pre-cooked and contain a blend of Mediterranean seasonings. Each Oppa! gyro kit contains gyro slices, pita bread and Greek-yogurt based Tzatziki Sauce. 

Maria’s Greek Delights phyllo swirls are available in three varieties: Cheese, Spinach & Cheese and Apple & Cinnamon. The One Republic Flatbreads line includes white and wheat pita bread, hand-stretched naan, ultra-thin pizza crust, Italian herb focaccia and sticky buns. 

Smart Flour Foods 

Booth 5482

Smart Flour Foods offers allergy friendly, gluten-free frozen pizzas, which feature a combination of the ancient grains sorghum, amaranth and teff. The company’s pizza crusts, which are also sold separately in packs of two, were recently Non-GMO Verified. 

The Austin, Texas-based company will highlight its entire line of retail pizzas, including its specialty and family-size offerings. Smart Flour Foods will also debut its Italian Style Chicken Deluxe Pizza. 

“Made with a clean ingredient deck and certified gluten-free, this premium pizza is packed with flavor and topped with sweet Italian chicken sausage, real mozzarella and provolone cheese, and a perfect balance of bell peppers, black olives, onions and basil,” says Sameer Shah, vice president of marketing. 

The Italian Style Chicken Deluxe Pizza is free from preservatives, artificial ingredients, nitrates and hormones. 

GNP Co.

Booth 5506

GNP Co. offers premium branded and custom chicken products at retail, deli and foodservice, and distributes products under the Just BARE and Gold’n Pump brands names. The St. Cloud, Minn.-based company will focus on its Just BARE brand, which includes no antibiotics ever and organic product lines. 

“We want to reinforce the brand’s commitment to raising goodness buy providing good food for more people,” says Brian Roelofs, vice president of sales and marketing. “In the growing no antibiotics ever category, we want to showcase the driving force behind Just BARE’s differentiation, primarily the traceability to the family farm and our environmental stewardship through initiatives such as our support of Renewable Choice Energy.”    

The company is dedicated to ensuring safety and quality at every step, from farm to fork, Roelofs adds. “As members of a global community, we invest in the various communities where we live and work, and strive to reduce the environmental footprint of our operational supply chain.”

Explore Cuisine 

Booth 5628

Formerly known as Explore Asian, the Red Bank, N.J.-based company will unveil its new brand name, Explore Cuisine, as well as six new gluten-free, organic pastas. The new Pulse Pasta collection includes Red Lentil Penne, Green Lentil Penne, Chickpea Fusilli, Red Lentil Spaghetti, Chickpea Spaghetti and Green Lentil Lasagne Sheets. A chef will be on hand at the company’s booth cooking up samples of the new products for attendees to try. 

“Explore Cuisine integrates beans, peas, lentils and rice to provide consumers with nourishing meals which are easy, quick, colorful and simply delicious,” says Erika Wasserman, vice president of marketing. “Explore Cuisine delivers high quality yet affordable food to consumers by buying ingredients direct from farmers and producing next to the fields.”

The brand is committed to Fair Trade and sustainable living, and two percent of the company’s proceeds support the Food to Thrive Foundation. 

Sonoma Flatbreads 

Booth 5697

The Columbus, Ohio-based Jane’s Dough Foods, a mass producer of dough and pizza products, has grown rapidly since it was established in 2008. As a result, the company expanded its Sonoma Flatbreads brand in the gluten-free and organic pizza categories, as well as partnered with retail supermarkets, membership clubs, c-stores and food service to grow their pizza categories. 

“Our goal is to showcase the Sonoma Flatbreads Gluten Free and the Sonoma Flatbreads Organic product lines, which are made from the highest quality ingredients and deliver a delicious eating experience that has been missing from the gluten-free and organic pizza categories,” says Stan Jacot, executive vice president/general manager. 

The Sonoma Flatbreads Organic line features Spinach & Feta, Four Cheese, Pepperoni and Chicken Sausage & Peppers varieties. Sonoma Flatbreads Gluten Free comes in Uncured Pepperoni, Chicken & Fire Roasted Peppers, Three Cheese and Fire Roasted Vegetable varieties. 

Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.

Booth 5799

For a refreshing treat, Expo West attendees can stop by Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co.’s booth, where the New York-based company will be sampling its Soft Serve Fruit from a soft serve and slushy machine, as well as its Soft Serve Fruit Pops.  

“Whether it be our box of pops for supermarket shelves, our slushies at convention centers and sports arenas, our soft serve fruit mix at corporate cafeterias and hospitals or our single serve pops at schools and camps; we will demonstrate how Chloe’s can introduce a delicious, clean, healthy treat to any setting and inspire everyone to enjoy ‘the cool way to eat fruit,’” says president Chloe Epstein. 

The company will debut its newest Fruit Pop flavor, Tangerine. Tangerine, available as a four-pack or as a single serve pop, will join the company’s five other Fruit Pop varieties that include Strawberry, Mango, Dark Chocolate, Raspberry and Pineapple.

Mizkan America

Booth 9632

Mizkan America is a Mount Prospect, Ill.-based producer of vinegar and cooking wines. It also processes green chile peppers and jalapenos. “In order to appeal to a broader audience, including Millennials, Mizkan has taken a new focus on developing organic and clean label products,” says Dave Rotunno, executive director of marketing. 

The company will highlight these products, which include: Nature’s Intent Organic Apple Cider Vinegars, Nature’s Intent Fruit Infused Drinking Vinegars, Nakano Natural and Seasoned Organic Rice Vinegars and Clean Label Seasoned Rice Vinegars, Four Monks Cleaning Vinegar, Organic 3-leaf Balsamic Vinegar and Organic Balsamic Glaze. 

MELT Organic 

Booth 2598A

MELT Organic was founded on a need for a healthier alternative to butter. The result was Rich & Creamy MELT Organic Buttery Spread, which is made with medium chain fatty acids and boasts high omega-3 content. “We are excited to share two new MELT products at Expo West this year,” says Meg Carlson, president and CEO of the Boise, Idaho-based company. 

Probiotic MELT Buttery Spread and MELT Organic Buttery Sticks will be unveiled at the company’s booth. Company officials say Probiotic MELT Buttery Spread enhances the flavor of foods while delivering probiotics safely to support digestive health and MELT Organic Buttery Sticks are made from a beneficial blend of coconut, palm fruit and hi-oleic sunflower oils for optimal baking and cooking.

Toufayan Bakeries 

Booth H307

Toufayan Bakeries, a third-generation family-owned, Ridgefield, N.J.-based company, is focusing on adding healthier option products to its lineup, says Karen Toufayan, vice president of sales and marketing.  

Toufayan will showcase its new all-natural breads and snacks. “Toufayan Organic Scoop-Able Pita Chip is our very first organic, all-natural, oven baked Pita Chip in a Sea Salt variety,” says Toufayan. 

Organic Sprouted Grain Whole Wheat Pita and All Natural Sprouted Grain Smart Pockets will also make their debut. All Natural Sprouted Grain Smart Pockets, made with organic sprouted whole wheat, join the company’s growing line of Smart Pockets. 

Sioux Honey Association 

Booth H317

The Sioux Honey Association (SHA) is a beekeeper owned company of approximately 300 beekeepers located throughout 28 U.S. states. SHA makes the Sue Bee Honey and Aunt Sue’s brands. 

SHA hosts a state-of-the-art laboratory that continually tests for purity and source of pollen. Samples of all honey are tested and graded for clarity, type, flavor, moisture and color. The most advanced methods and the most exacting standards are used to ensure that every grade of honey packed under the Sue Bee label is the finest available anywhere, says Bruce Nyhammer, western marketing director for the Sioux City, Iowa-based SHA.

SHA will highlight its Aunt Sue’s Organic Honey and its Farmers Market Clover Honey. The company will also promote the fact that SHA honey is all natural, Nyhammer adds. 

Metropolitan Gourmet

Booth H431

Metropolitan Gourmet offers Celiac Support Association certified gluten-free products that test for less than 2.5 ppm. The Parsippany, N.J.-based company will introduce its all-natural gluten-free breadcrumbs and croutons. 

“If you suffer from Celiac disease, allergies or gluten intolerance, our gluten-free bread crumbs and croutons are packed full of flavor, and are affordable to purchase,” says owner Michael Wilenta. 

Metropolitan Gourmet also offers its products in bulk for the food service and industrial markets. The company’s products are both non-GMO Project Verified and Kosher supervised.     

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